Recovery is the direct result of doing what you have to do instead of what you want to do.
I started drinking at 12 years old. Although none of my relatives were alcoholics, the first sip of booze changed my personality. I had goals of being successful in everything I did and alcohol helped. The buzz gave me confidence and courage. I wanted to feel that way all the time. When I began hanging out with my older brother’s upperclassmen friends freshman year, they introduced me to pills.
Partying became more important to me than sports or school.
My personality changed, and my GPA suffered, drawing red flags from my wrestling coach. By the time he called my dad to say “Brandon hasn’t been showing up to practice. There’s something wrong,” I was already into OxyContin. When the pills became harder to come by, I tried heroin. Heroin gave me more bang for my buck. I loved it.
A few months later, my father bought a drug test, and I was caught. He sent me to a suboxone clinic in Philly. I stayed sober for about seven months, but as soon as I weaned off subs, I was back on heroin and using more than ever. Sustaining an injury my senior year of high school provided the perfect excuse to quit sports and focus on my growing addiction. Eventually, I was not welcome in my family’s house. I could hear the doors lock every time I knocked. Their detachment with love was fair considering I was pawning off anything I could get my hands on for more drugs at the time.
The road to recovery was rocky. Being only 19, I had to learn many lessons the hard way. I needed a change in perspective and environment, so I started looking at West Palm Beach rehab centers. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to stop using drugs altogether. I just knew that if I didn’t use for one hour, the potential for not using an hour after that was actually possible. I tried not to think big picture. Being in Florida gave me the chance to look at my thoughts, my actions, and my relationships.
I was far enough away from my old life to see it for what it really was. </h5
The realizations were harsh. However, I would still relapse three more times before getting clean for good. It wasn’t until I heard that my brother was chosen to take over my father’s position in the Jersey City Police Department that I was reminded that I had dreams too. My mentality changed from a hopeless, low self-esteem user into a hard-working, self-reliant man of recovery. I know it was no coincidence that once I took my recovery seriously, blessings appeared in my life.
I am now three years sober, fully immersed in the recovery community and putting myself through nursing school. I work at a detox center as an Admissions Manager, helping people just like me find purpose in their lives. When I help get someone sober, it inspires my sobriety as well. I am incredibly grateful to have this opportunity.
I might be 1200 miles away from my family, but I have never been closer to them. When they come down to Florida to visit, I’m fortunate enough to welcome them to my own place. There are no prison cell bars or treatment center technicians in between us. We have been able to completely rebuild our relationship.
Today, I have inner peace, serenity, real friends and newfound spirituality.
To wake up sober, not being dependent, is the best feeling. I am finally completely free from the chains that were holding me back. The journey has been difficult, but I made it back. I practice being the best version of myself every day. The biggest miracle is not that I am sober, but that I want to be sober.